With the untimely decline of FWD>> in 2016, it seemed that our favourite platform for grime had dissipated – into another case of licensing issues, gentrification through cocktail bars, and a general lack of compassion from the authorities. Dance Tunnel had closed too, and our patience had started to wear thin. However FWD>> was not the only glimmer of hope present in London. Our list sets out London’s allegiance to grime – in the six best nights it has to offer.
Imitating the iconic font of Southwark Council, Southbound is the incredibly popular South London club night that’s dedicated to the soundsystem culture born and raised in the UK. Frequently putting on nights of two genres side by side, it offers an eclectic mix to bring all your friends together. Whether it’s solely a night of grime, or if the genre battles against pioneers of bassline, garage, or UK rap, Southbound is everyone’s favourite night.
Sharky Major’s Grime Originals is special, because it’s probably the closest thing we’re ever going to get to the classic Sidewinder rave in the present day. It’s also one of the cheaper nights in London, where girls get to go at the crazy price of £1 a ticket. Despite its name alluding to the pioneers, Grime Originals brings a healthy mix of the new wave MCs, but ends on an unrelenting stream of the olders spitting 8 bars and passing the mic onward. This is the rave for all the mic-men you’d wish to catch but never knew how: Slew Dem, Gods Gift, Durrty Goodz, Bruza…even Wiley cannot contain his excitement.
You can catch Grime Originals at Fire in Vauxhall.
Photo by Sharpington Photography
Started by producer and MC Footsie four years ago, under his curation King Original has never stopped showcasing only DJs and MCs who have rightly earned their place on its stage. With the only resident being King Original Sound, the ever changing line-ups continue to tempt the most knowledgeable of grime fans, whose memories of tunes and bars have been fossilising since the early days. Though flyers and posters might suggest a small, limited line-up, you should always anticipate unplanned MCs turning up and shelling down the dance. Barking down the mic in a great horde on stage, sipping superjuice and shamelessly inducing some of the most shocking reloads we’ve seen, there’s not one reason to miss this.
Acrylic is the baby of DJ Amy Becker, where she showcases her ear for grime, dancehall, and raucous club tracks. Starting in London, Acrylic is the magnet which pulls all the talented scenes in the UK together. Although there’ve been collaborations with the likes of Manchester label Swing Ting, Manara, and ethereal selectors like Sinjin Hawke and Zora Jones, Becker never shies too far away from the grimy DNA of Acrylic, where line-ups have provided a platform for people like YGG, Mez, AJ Tracey, Anz, and Jack Dat. According to Becker, 2018 is the year where Acrylic grows, to bring more of it straight to our doorstep.
Boxed is the centrepoint for instrumental grime in London. Starting in 2012 by producers and DJs Mr Mitch, Logos, Slackk, and Oil Gang, the label and club night’s parties continue to attract ravers from all genres, tying them together with their strange, unorthodox take on the genre. With line-ups donning the likes of Grandmixxer, Riz La Teef, Spooky, Mumdance, Sir Spyro and even club DJs like Tarquin, Boxed is exclusive to London, offering only the highest calibre of instrumentals. Four compilations later, and leaving Rinse FM after 3 years to focus on the raves, it’s only wise to expect mysterious dubplates and massive wheel ups from the producers in charge.
Freerange is a night which spans over London, Brighton, Bristol, Manchester, Oxford, and Southampton. Bringing cheap tickets, and line-ups of classic DJs from the 140-sphere spinning the most ferocious dubs, 2018 has brought to light just how much the night has achieved over its 10 years of existence. Though maintaining its roots in dubstep and dungeon, Freerange has been exploring grime again and again to showcase names like Kahn & Neek, Flowdan, and Commodo.
Tomas Frazer’s label Coyote Records has been around since 2012, releasing quirky, modernised grime while also maintaining a balance with club-ready bangers, and their emotional counterparts. Their nights take place at The Alibi in Dalston, and so in tradition with policy, every night is free with special guest MCs regularly blessing the ravers with their iconic lyricism. With a roster that releases work by artists like Last Japan, Spokes, Silk Road Assassins, and Jurango, Coyote Records and their innate eccentricism have become a staple for grime in London.
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By Saagar Kaushik @_saagark
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